Driving Frustration

Hey, everyone. I just wanted to share one of my biggest frustrations with t1d right now. I have been driving for over two years and have had diabetes for 4. I guess that I have just started to get frustrated when I have to wait to drive because my blood sugar is a little low. I know that others have said some stuff about driving with type one, but I just wanted to post this to put it out there that I am frustrated with this.
I know this is a pretty stupid thing to be frustrated about with type one. Rather, there are worse things to be concerned about. I know it is not a hard fix to bring blood sugars up to drive. It is just frustrating and I was wondering if anyone else shared my frustrations with this. I am also open to those tips and tricks people may have!!

It’ll be Okay. Now that you have your CGM, you can watch the trends to see if your BGL’s are starting to fall like when your insulin is peaking. If you’re needing to drive in let’s say 1 hour of getting off work or going on a errand and there is a BGL trending down drink a little reg soda or juice to stabilize the situation and continue to monitor the trend as the time for you to drive approaches and adjust with more of a snack if needed. I was on steroids after back surgery once and I was advised to drive to keep function in my RT leg. The steroids were causing severe issues with BGL’s being erratic. After eating dinner I went on a short trip to the store. I never made it home that time.

Danielle @fieldiez very wise words. Like you, I’ve had diabetes the entire time that I have been driving - my diabetes diagnosis was on my 16th birthday and I began driving the day I was released from the hospital 64 years ago. Like you, I always check my BGL before driving and while driving [the ashtray in my roadster is filled with BG Check strips] and I wear a CGM with a “Low Alert” set at 85 mg/dl.

Another caution I will add, is when on longer drives [or when stuck in traffic], stop and check BG hourly. Alert eyes burn a ton of carbs and the constant use of your eyes when driving can cause significant BGL drop. Always have easy open carbs within arms reach.

I feel you @fieldiez . I’d had diabetes for 13 years by the time I started driving. No CGM or meters at the time😱 so we had to go on how we felt. I was taught to carry some candy just in case, always always always have a snack before getting behind the wheel - and if low, treat/sit/wait.
We do have great tools now but that need to treat/sit/wait remains. @rs3880 gave you excellent advice but there still may be times…
I try to console myself that is not very different from what a responsible person would do if they had been drinking, or took other medications that might make them less than safe on the road. Waiting is annoying but we live to see another day.

Thanks, @rs3880 I usually try to be proactive about it. I think that I have just had to drive more lately, so it becomes a more daily battle. It is not usually that I am low, but they want you to be more than 100 when you drive. I usually am about 85, so not too bad to get it up, I just feel like it is constant lately.

@Dennis You are correct. I always stop every hour to hour and a half on long trips to check or now with the cgm, have someone else just look at it quick. I do not look at my phone while I drive, so I have started to set my low alert higher when I leave. You have wise words as always!!

@wadawabbit You have wise words. I know that others have to try to consider driving and waiting to drive or not driving at all because of many different things. I want to be safe on the road because I am controlling a hunk of metal weighing about a ton. I don’t want to hurt anyone or worse. I don’t know why, but the driving things is really irritating to me lately. It may be that I don’t get off work till 11:30 pm, so I am already tired and want to get home. I just started this job and have been pretty active which is why I have been having trouble with this lately. I know this is something I had to deal with before, but it just feels frustrating lately. Probably me just being tired!!

@fieldiez i don’t have much to add other than 1 glucose tab raises my blood sugar 20 points if I’m not falling- so crunching a tab and then just going is what I do. If I was 75 and not dropping I wouldn’t wait, because I know me and what happens when I drive. A more conservative approach is better at first for sure. There is also nothing magic about above 100 it’s a number.

Some states consider driving while low to be exactly the same as DUI, which is a much bigger safety and consequence type discussion.

If you pump, you may want to adjust basal so you’re not low when at work, or if you are on a feedback pump, set it to “active “ or “exercise “ (whatever the pump calls it) so it controls your blood sugar a little higher. :four_leaf_clover:


Thanks, Joe! It is considered illegal to drive low in my state, but they do not have a set number as far as I know. I am on injections, so I just need to adjust at work a little more. It is in those times when you start something new and are having those lows that it feels frustrating. I just need to find that sweet spot with my insulin and activity levels so I don’t drop after work. I eat dinner at 5:30 - 6:00 pm and then I don’t leave work until 11:30 pm, so it is probably more likely that it is because I haven’t eaten for a while. Again, it’s a brand new job, so I need to work with my new schedule. Thanks for the advice.

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It sounds like having a snack 30-60 minutes before you leave, might do the trick. Also, if you were on a 9-5 schedule you might look into adjusting the timing of your basal insulin injection. I have read that some people find doing that - or even splitting the dose - is helpful.
I use a pump and I’m not a doctor - so I’m just tossing the idea out so you can discuss with yours.

Thanks, Dorrie. I will try having a snack tonight when I work, a while before I leave. I guess I am not used to eating at 11:30 pm yet. I work from 3 pm to 11:30 pm and then I take my basal insulin before I leave. I think the issue may be that I have my dinner break at 5:10 pm so I have 6 hours where I am active and not eating. I will try having a snack about an hour before I leave. Now that I think about it, I could have something around 9:00. I work at a mental health and addiction inpatient facility, so they offer meals and snacks. Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I will be trying them out when I work for the next few days, weeks, etc.

Six hours is a long time - I’m a grazer and often eat my meal in bus and pieces as well, so I snack or eat another portion of my meal in between on between. I’m guessing dining facilities are only open certain hours but could you stand a time to eat that might work better (another option)? Thank you for your good work - I had a relative who suffered with depression and not everyone has the patience and compassion to work with people who have mental health or addiction issues. Blessings to you.

Yeah. I am going to bring some snacks that might be a little bit more blood sugar friendly. I am in college, so this is just a part time job for me, but I personally think that there is too much stigma and people avoid places like where I work. For the most part, the patients are extremely kind and considerate. They have their bad days like everyone else, so I must say I enjoy this job so far.

If you have glucose tabs in your car, there is nothing to be frustrated about. I carry them in a ziplock in my pocked also. Pop one and you know you likely can not go any lower at least. I think after you have lived with it for a longer period, you will be just fine. After 53 years like me, it’s nothing.

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As a fellow diabetic, NOT stupid. In fact, lows in general are super frustrating. It’s an awful feeling and it sucks to have to wait to do something as simple as driving somewhere. I think that you need to address why you are going low, this shouldn’t be happening on regular basis, perhaps your insulin needs adjusting? Do you know why you are going low? I would focus on that. It’s hard on your body when your sugars are low. I’d talk to your endo about an adjustment to your insulin maybe…

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Thanks!! I have had to kind of dial back the insulin levels at work. I found I just need high lower insulin to carb ratio at dinner so far. I guess my frustration was just because it was happening all of the sudden after starting this new job. I am more active later in the day, so yes I needed insulin changes. Thanks again!!

So glad you’ve found what works! Be sure to give the change a few days to make sure you’ve found the right ratio - it can take some time for your body to “settle” - kind of like cutting your hair, it takes a few to see how it’s trait going to turn out (at least that’s been the case for me). Congrats, and I’m glad you’re enjoying your new job.

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I have been a type 1 for 52 years and I never get into my car without checking my blood sugar first. I had a very bad experience of a low blood sugar while driving. I had very poor control of the car. I was all over the road and it took awhile before I had the presence of mind to pull off the road and treat the low blood sugar. There must have been an angel in the car with me that I didn’t hurt anyone or myself. That was a hard lesson.


All wise words. A snack around 9pm should help. The only thing I’ll add is that for me, fruit juice raises my sugar much more quickly than anything else-including glucose tabs. I keep the mini (4.6oz.) juice boxes (which need no refrigeration) everywhere - including in my desk at the office. You could keep these at work, in your desk, locker or handbag and in your car for anytime you’re crashing. Best to you !

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I’m glad you were able to get off the road and to a safe place, and no one was injured. I remember I was literally a couple of blocks from home, behind a car at a stop sign and waiting my turn. Someone (not me) was taking too long to move into the intersection, and when one of the drivers blew their horn it nearly startled me out of my seat.
I got home and did a fingerstick for lunch (no CGM at the time) and found I was low 40-something! I learned that was one of my signs. There must have been an angel with me that day too.

About 15 years ago my Dr. started me on Lantus, and one particular Thursday afternoon I was running around more than usual at work. I remember walking to my office and the next thing I remember clearly was hanging upside down in my Prius. I have some fuzzy memories driving erratically and going airborn but that was it. I actually drove about 3 miles before crashing This was rush hour in a busy area, but luckily I avoided hitting anyone and only getting minor injuries. My chest was sore as hell from the air bag and they dragged me out through some poison ivy. From that point forward I checked my sugar much more regularly and now have the CGM…

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Wow that must have been scary!! I am glad you came out of it with only minor injuries considering that your car flipped. I like that the cgm can help me plan before hand, but the incidents like this are the reason I dont want to drive too low. By that I mean no less than 90 (state says no less than 100).